Archive for August, 2012

“Romney has “0” support among African Americans !?”: Don’t believe the hype

August 23, 2012

 

Having grown up in the south, there was a time I never believed there were African American men who believe in ideas espoused by the likes of Herman Cain, or Allen West, or Artur Davis. Now don’t get me wrong; I do not dislike the brothers I simply was not aware of the depth of such loyalty to the ultra-right faction of the Republican agenda.

To this day I remember my first “conscious” encounter with this particular Black Republican “mindset”. I was host of a radio show in Baltimore (1986-1989) and I had heard of a young Republican brother named Allen Keys who was working either for the State Department, or the United Nations and I invited him on my show to talk about some issue I now can’t recall. I was amazed at his point of view and how different it was from mine. And, yes some of my best (Black) friends were then, and are now Republican.  I haven’t heard from him lately, but he is till out there.

Fortunately most Black Republicans I know are in the “moderate” wing of the party, or what is left of it. They remain “fossils” from the good old days of Maryland’s Dr. Aris T. Allen, J. Glen Beale, Charles “Mac” Mathias, and men like Sen. Ed Brooke, and Sen. Bob Dole. I even voted for one Republican ticket in Maryland that of Robert Ehrlich, and Michael Steele, although I never considered joining the party.  I was “disgruntled” over the Democratic candidate for Governor of Maryland Kathleen Kennedy’s missed opportunity to choose an African American running mate; an opportunity seized by the Maryland Republican Party which chose Steele, the same year. 

It is very dangerous to assume that Mr. Romney has little or no support from African Americans. Don’t believe the hype. Just because the Republican Party lost the White House to the Democrats in 2008, they still are a powerful political organization, even in a fractured state. How else could they generate $1 Billion dollars to wage the current “fight to the finish” to win in November?

Many of the Republican Party’s elite are business owners with long standing positive relationships in business and otherwise with African Americans, and Hispanics; much of it is “on the down-low”. Given the present political climate there is no need for this group of Black voters to speak up, or “come out” now. In fact, I can’t blame them.  After all, they need only show up at the polls on Election Day, step behind the curtain and speak with their vote. 

They are the new “Silent Minority” who will suddenly in this upcoming close election play a pivotal role in electing the next president of the United States. This election will be a “toss up” when their votes are added to those of independents, and disgruntled Black Democrats like Mr. Artur Davis who made a nomination speech for candidate Obama in 2008, and who will be addressing the Republican convention next week in Miami. Some are “opportunist” who jumped ship after 2008 and for various reasons and joined the “opposition” because they fell out of favor with president Obama, or because they became convinced their “audience potential” had more collateral value with the “Tea Party” which is their right.
So, get that surprised look off your face Black America, because there are more African Americans caught in this dilemma than we know. After all, there are only two choices with chances of winning in November, either Obama, or Romney, there are rumblings among African American voters about “sitting this one out”, there are real and imagined voter suppression efforts afoot, and much less enthusiasm for candidate Obama this time than in 2008.

Therefore, I suggest Democrats ignore the hype/notion that Mr. Romney “has “0” support among African Americans”, and encourage organizations and the institutions controlled by African Americans, (such as out faith communities, fraternities, sororities, minority business organizations, etc.) to:

1.   Organize as “hubs” and pool resources to form “carpools” to guarantee rides to the polls on Election Day for any voter in need of a ride. And,

2. In states where there are new voting rules, to work with The League of Women Voters locally to educate the public about how to read ballots, and how to secure the needed credentials to avoid being denied the opportunity to vote.

America’s non-partisan cunundrum

August 7, 2012
 
The shooter in Wisconsin’s actions and life style indicate he is a “willing host” to a negative spirit. It fueled his hatred for others he assumed were his enemies. By contrast the shooter responsible for the massacre in Colorado was an “unwilling host” seeking help with his promptings. He “telegraphed” as much to his doctor in person, and in information discovered after the incident.Both men purchased and possessed guns legally.

The Wisconsin shooter also “telegraphed” (via his choice of friends, conversations, music and lifestyle) his willingness to be such a host. Either mindset (host) with a weapon legal or otherwise is a danger to society. Neither are necessarily “bad people”, but both were no match for their indwelling negative spirits. Therefore, America has two choices when it comes to dealing with such individuals; to identify, isolate, and eliminate them (the hosts,) or reduce their access to weapons via sensible legislation. This is America’s  non-partisan cunundrum.

On CNN’s coverage of the 47th anniversary of the 1965 Voting Rights Act

August 7, 2012

While laudable for its length, the content, and context of CNN’s story on the History of the 1965 Voting Rights Act on Sunday August 5th, 2012 missed its mark. There’s enough blame to go around for producers, editors (for the wrong time-line), and the guests for not maximizing a teaching moment during “prime time”.

 

It was good for Rev. Young to begin by saying (almost “tongue and cheek”) he was born in New Orleans, and in order to vote in November he will be required to show certain papers he might not be able to obtain, or locate. That’s “meta-talk” for Black folks, meaning “Houston we have a problem”.

 

The least challenge at the polls during the upcoming voting season will add to what will already be a more volatile voting experience this time around. Efforts to reduce vote fraud by placing additional demands on voters for specific identification are reminiscent of the “Jim Crow” laws of my home state of Mississippi. Then, over 450,000 African Americans were eligible to vote in the state, however less than sixty thousand had been allowed to register.  Of course having to guess the correct answer to questions like how many Black Eye Peas does it take to fill a gallon jar helped keep the numbers down until after the passage of the Voting Rights Act in 1965. Soon Mississippi became the state with the largest number of Black elected officials in the nation.

 

While the questions will probably not be as tricky in 2012, without public education campaigns about new voting rules in those states where new rules will be in place, the impact will be no laughing matter, especially in close races and there will be many.

 

To use today’s media platforms effectively, the few of us who have access to them must be savvy enough to know when to “reflect” and when to “think”. All pundits could help the public now by focusing their attention on the “buzz” on the street of America about new voting rules, what states are involved, what are the new requirements? We need more about “now”, and less about “then.” This ain’t gon be our mama’s election!

 

While seeing civil rights icons on split screens with CNN anchors covering civil rights issues makes a great visual, if the content does not increase the viewer’s political or civil literacy rate, the experience is nothing more than eye candy. We have just about three months to educate the public about something many of us are taking for granted, including many folks considered to be well educated and politically savvy.